Industry & Sector Performance

The economy of Ararat Rural City is strengthened by its diversity. The following industries play a significant role in driving economic growth in the region.

Manufacturing & Technology

Advanced and innovative manufacturing plays an important role in Ararat’s economic landscape.  Affordable land, rail and road linkages, close proximity to Ballarat, Melbourne and the ports in the south as well as a skilled workforce have contributed to the City’s prosperity.

Whilst maintaining and supporting existing manufacturing activities, there are opportunities for Ararat to attract and foster niche value adding activities as well as encouraging local industry into advanced activities such as product design and research.

AME Systems (Vic) is the leading Australian manufacturer of quality electrical harness, wiring harness, vehicle harness, electrical assembly boards, electrical control boxes and power and signal distribution systems for heavy transport, automobiles, military equipment, special purpose vehicles, motorcycles, marine craft, aircraft and fixed electrical plant. 

AF Gason Pty Ltd is a world class designer and manufacturer of broadacre farm machinery and wood heating products which are distributed through an extensive network of dealers throughout Australia. The company also offers a multitude of industrial services such as laser cutting, powder coating, welding and assembly to a broad range of industry sectors supplying customers in major capital cities and other regional areas. Gason has recently acquired the off road caravan manufacturing business Trakmaster. 

Health and Community Services

Ararat’s health, well-being and community services sector is one of the City’s fastest growing sectors and a significant contributor to the Regional economy.  The sector employs 647 people or 14%% of the workforce.  Local health facilities are extremely comprehensive as they also service the needs of the surrounding area and attract patients from outside of the area for surgical procedures.  The ageing population will continue to drive increased demand for health and community services

Whilst the provision of quality health services, community services and ancillary services is a major economic sector in itself, it is also a vital prerequisite to creating a desirable living environment for residents.  A lack of services creates a competitive disadvantage in the attraction and retention of people to the Region.


Tourism is an important driver of economic development in the Region.  Ararat, is located within the broader Grampians and Pyrenees tourism regions and is the Gateway to the Grampians.  Grampians Tourism data shows that each year six million visitors make their way to the Region (3.7 million day visitors, 2.1 million overnight visitors and 83,000 international visitors).  Tourism generates $35 million into the local economy and employs approximately 210 equivalent full time workers.

The visitor profile data specific to Ararat (RC) follows:

Visitor Profile

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Source: Tourist Expenditure Profile data sourced from 2011-12, Tourism Research Australia (TRA), Regional Tourism Profiles.

Agriculture & Food Processing

Over 1,000 people are employed in the agriculture and food processing industries.  Agriculture is mainly based around grain, wool and meat production while food processing is represented by activities such as meat and poultry processing, wine processing and bread and pastry production. The vast majority of agricultural production and food processing is exported within Australia and overseas.  Local processing capability has been boosted by the growth of intensive animal industry activities such as poultry and pigs.

Ararat’s reputation as a producer of clean and green products has resulted in the growth of niche food products such as olive oil which is sold throughout Australia and internationally.

Viticulture and premium wine production is a growth industry and Ararat is home to a number of wineries who have gained a world class reputation for their red wines especially the shiraz grape variety.


Ararat is the retail hub of the eastern Grampians region and services a catchment area of approximately 25,000 people.

With an eclectic mix of national retailers and smaller boutique-style businesses the retail industry turns over more than $77 million annually. Major retailers which have chosen to invest in Ararat include Harvey Norman, Target, Reject Shop, Dimmeys,  Lyalls, Woolworths, IGA, McDonalds, KFC, Mitre 10 and Aldi. These large nationals sit alongside a host of smaller boutiques and speciality stores.